More previews from the Kelly Tyrannosaur Project.

Kelly TrixFBAs we can see here… not everything tyrannosaur has to be Tyrannosaurus! This classic scene has been depicted many times…And it should have been an awesome one to watch. Triceratops was once depicted as a mud wrestler by Dr. Bob Bakker.

Mike Kelly has been painstakingly putting together a treaty about Tyrannosaurus that wants to embrace everything: from local environments, to the prey, to the extant contemporary fauna and to the different approaches to recreate the image of the über predator… feathers and no feathers,,,. Obviously after my “conversion” through the discovery of  Yutyrannus, there was no way I could go back to do Tyrannosaurus the way I had done all my life. Parsimony reigns in Palaeontology. We will need now hard evidence to see T. rex naked the way it used too be, even if for some  the acceptance of image transition has been and continues to be very hard. And that has included me and Mike himself… But once you make your mind about the new image and understand why,  the only question for the artist from then on is to make the image believable!  I’m really looking forward to see Mike Kelly’s book finished and published. It’s going to be a real achievement at every possible level. Tyr  rowB

Obviously the one showing the Keratin Revolution was not only T. rex… and Triceratops had to have his whole new make-up too! This time blending the hard evidence of hits skin,  I have used a B&W stripped  pattern that I have used before and curiously makes it blend quite well with the surroundings . Keep plugged in for more on the Keratin Revolution in the not so far future!

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The Archaeopteryx Project is almost here!

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It’s taking shape! (here’s the latest corrected version)  We have been working  together with Alanna Magovern and Nick Regester from Silver Plume Exhibitions (an offspring of the Stone and Company illustrious clan) in Dinosaurs Take Flight  a paleoart tribute to  the (possibly) most important fossil in the history of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory: Archaeopteryx. Silver Plume Exhibitions, is also the production team behind the acclaimed traveling exhibition Hatching the Past, and have teamed up with the design and scientific minds from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History to bring this unique exhibition to (for starters) some relevant venues in the US.It will have a grand opening in just a few months time.   Paleaortists involved  include no other than William Stout, Julius Csotonyi, Mark Hallett and Dennis Wilson  and Gary Staab will take care of the 3D section… the in-depth approach to the personalities of the artists’ artwork  will be shared with, among other things, interactive displays and casts of ALL the Archaeopteryx fossils together   My involvement includes not only new and old  portraits of Archaeopteryx but a life size mural, not just of Archaeopteryx but… some of its  closest family ties! See the relatives in a close to six meters long “march”, it will also have a partial Utahraptor for good measure.

Deinonychus BYes, imagine my Deinonychus life size side by side with Velociraptor… and Microraptor and… Dave…and  the lot… the contrast of sizes is going to be remarkable, but important to noter…. although the main protagonist will have a doble preferment treatment!

An interesting aspect of this itinerant exhibition will be the fact that is more slanted to the “art” aspect of the show. Alanna and Nick originally wanted an artshow with Archaeopteryx as a theme! It has been conceived more as an art exhibition that just a scientific one. This will put to the test what the term “Paleoart” really mean and what it is for, with the spotlight in the very different personalities and idiosyncrasies of the artists and how they have been inspired by the landmark fossil. After all, that is what “art” is supposed to be: a personal language, a personal way to express yourself…the question is, how express personality through scientific restorations of dinosaurs? Well, it is called “style”! And there’s going to be plenty to choose from stylish approaches here
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  Needless to say it’s incredible good fun to be working with all these very capable people.  In the recent Berlin SVP I had the opportunity to exchange some seemingly very controversial ideas about the feathering of Archaeopteryx with  Nick Longrich and Jakob Vinther… some may find it outlandish, but they convinced me to feather the animal to an extent not ever seen before,… to almost over the tip of its toes!

In these times of  popular paleo-misinformation, exhibitions like this are very important to keep things in historical and artistic perspective…  We are looking forward to a great success with this exhibition. For more information  visit the Silver Plume blog and Facebook page at Dinosaurs Take Flight ,  https://spexhibitions.wordpress.com and http://www.dinosaurstakeflight.com/index.html

Keep tuned for more news about the event.

Posted in Archaeopteryx, Dinosaurs Take Flight, Hatching The Past, maniraptora, Museum Displays, Raptors | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More previews from the Kelly Tyrannosaur Project.

Originally posted on Luis V. Rey Updates Blog:

Kelly TrixFBAs we can see here… not everything tyrannosaur has to be Tyrannosaurus! This classic scene has been depicted many times…And it should have been an awesome one to watch. Triceratops was once depicted as a mud wrestler by Dr. Bob Bakker.

Mike Kelly has been painstakingly putting together a treaty about Tyrannosaurus that wants to embrace everything: from local environments, to the prey, to the extant contemporary fauna and to the different approaches to recreate the image of the über predator… feathers and no feathers,,,. Obviously after my “conversion” through the discovery of  Yutyrannus, there was no way I could go back to do Tyrannosaurus the way I had done all my life. Parsimony reigns in Palaeontology. We will need now hard evidence to see T. rex naked the way it used too be, even if for some  the acceptance of image transition has been and continues to be very…

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REVAMPS OF OLD FAVOURITES.

Originally posted on Luis V. Rey Updates Blog:

Two reconstructions of Allosaurus for a Ryan Tucker’s project (North Dakota).

Allosaurus avoiding Stegosaurus’ tail

Allosaurus admiring The Impossible Meal… Giraffatitan brancai.

Allosaurus has become a standard in a lot of my new artwork. You will see more in the near future. A handsome “tiger” of the Jurassic. Not wanting to be too controversial, the Stegosaurus and Giraffatitan were traced directly over skeletal mounts in Colorado and Chicago.

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Yi. Things will never be the same again (and again)!


YBWhen I started to get serious about the Dinosaur Renaissance  many years ago, I never dreamed that it will take me this far. If the speed of change of the image of the Dinosauria has been dazzling… what can I say about this latest paleo-release in the prestigious Nature magazine?

Meet Yi qi.  A fully feathered dinosaur with what appear bat-like or pterosaur-like wings! The fossil is not very clear on the extent of the patagium … in my version here I have adopted a frontal view that jumps the gun regarding what we still don’t know for sure.

As a contrast I’m adding an initial sketch in “classic” mode. At the end I decided that despite being more or less accurate, it tended to look like a gargoyle,,, a chimera, And this is far from being a fantasy animal,,, it is reality preserved in stone! Don’t be fooled by the apparent “fourth finger” It is digits 1, 2, 3 like any dinosaur plus an elongated  wrist bone! According to the authors of the paper Xing Xu et al  “In particular, the rod-like bone of Yi is strikingly similar to the enlarged carpally situated element seen in some petauristines, including the Japanese giant flying squirrel Petaurista leuco-genys

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For me it puts the nail once and for on the argument that feathers developed primarily to fly… this is an obvious arboreal animal, but for this dinosaur,  evolution  forgot that it had feathers and developed an extended membrane to create its wings. Just like pterosaurs, bats and flying squirrels, only it is an obvious feathered animal that had long tail feathers like the famous Epidexipteryx. Epidexipteryx in turn may have had patagium too, like possibly Scansioriopteryx and Epidendrosaurus, with their extremely elongated third fingers, but it was not preserved in them!

Remember these illustrations? I may have to change them in view of the current or (perhaps) future  evidence!EpidendrosaurusEpidexipteryx

 How good could it fly is a  bone of contention that will spark no doubt heated debate. Maybe it could only glide from one branch to another  or maybe it managed some sort of battering of the wings… but it is evident that wings it had!

It also demonstrates that for us, 169 million years of evolution from a natural group of animals (some call them a “Class”) is too much to grasp.  The full extent of variety  of animals may lay hidden or might have been lost forever. And the more we know, the more we understand that there might be much more that we actually haven’t discovered yet!

I was requested this image by many people. My version of Yi comes after tracing on the fossil and studying Nature’s paper (graciously provided by no other than Henry Gee himself). Scott Hartman had the good sense of adding some very valuable input, specially regarding the distribution of feathers… was the wing membrane also feathered?  It is far from being definitive and Scott has promised to do a full anatomical review in the near future… in the meantime, I had to do something about  it!

YB

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The Importance of Being a Chicken in London.

DSCN0644Deinocheirus, eat your heart out… look at the size of this magnificent work of art! Never a theropod relative have been seen reconstructed so… big! And by children!
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Chicken Fest at the City of London Academy (Southwark, Southeast London) was developed as an art project under the direction of Ben Frimet, the creator of the Chicken Sculpture . Chicken Fest  tried to understand and emphasise the place of the ubiquitous and familiar avian within human culture…  Believe it or not, under Ben’s direction kids between 10 and 13 were ultimately the artists responsible for these marvels… from chickens made of plastic cutlery and cardboard to poems and paintings.  We took a trip between fast food and a critical approach to mass slaughter  culminating with that piece de resistance that was that immense, awesome skeleton at the atrium.

Made of papier mache and wood it was one remarkable way to celebrate  the most indispensable dinosaur of them all.

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DSCN0647DSCN0648DSCN0655In Ben’s words: “Art teaches students to be curious and look at the world sideways, It also encourages them to become active learners who make a difference by doing. Art can be linked to all subject areas to enrich learning and furthermore, subject areas that collaborate are truer reflections of the way the real world operates”. Couldn’t agree more! 

And yes,,, John Hutchinson and myself were there invited to  show how important the dinosaur link is still in our lives! Chicken fun anybody?

DSCN0654Fast food taken for grantedand the mass slaughter of tasty innocent dinosaurs! The exhibition covered everything and distilled the enormous creative talent of the kids.DSCN0659 DSCN0656DSCN0657

We also had to thank Ben Frimet and the London Academy the opportunity to show our stuff,,, here Carmen and myself are dealing with our stall as usual, prior to the talks…  Carmen was delighted to had several kids from her library coming to say hello!

DSCN0661And needless to say, John Hutchinoson, the Biomechanics “Ace among aces”, the man responsible for ‘slowing’ T. rex (providing evidence, not special effects!) was also there  (with team mates) showing among other things a comprehensive variety of bones and casts  … including a downsized 3D photocopy of a T. rex femur (in red)!

DSCN0662We definitively had a great time, before and after the event… Ben Frimet  and also John are enjoying Dinosaur In Your Face here
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By the time the ceremony and talks started we were ready to emphasize the still not so obvious (for many) notion of chickens as just another dinosaur… Ben opened the proceedings…

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 And John Hotchinson continued  with his scientific expertise and naked chickens..,!

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By the time it was my turn I could only take a short trip on how the dinosaur image became more and more chicken- like… despite all the odds, Archeopteryx was recognised as a feathered dinosaur and (size-wise) at last we found a seven-metre feathered  tyrannosaur! Chickens before chickens… we wouldn’t be here cooking the small ones if the big ones hadn’t died out! Needless to say I had to show my “Chicken Run T rex” collaboration with John Hutchinson… it fit perfectly well with the spirit of the event.

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The school rightly awarded Ben Frimet  for his efforts as coordinator and in turn I was allowed the privilege to award each one of the younger artists involved with one print of my artwork. If only in my days at school I ever had a homework like they have had!  I hope their efforts will be rewarded by keeping the artwork and possibly show  it somewhere else… I shuddered at the possibility that (given the fragility of the materials) it might get destroyed… but fortunately that will not happen. I couldn’t think of a better ornament for an atrium… apart from another dinosaur skeleton that is!DSCN0707 DSCN0712 DSCN0713 I’d like to thank once again Dr. Naomi Sykes, Principal Richard Bannister, Rick Benton and Marcus Huntley and all the teachers and staff  of the City of London Academy and specially Ben Frimet  for their hospitality and special care of this event… we felt right at home!DSCN0714

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Glasgow (Part two). Hatching the Past opens to the public!

A virtual tour of the gallery as it stands now… you have to be there to really enjoy it. Awesome!
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